Lafayette (Ky.) has hired former Asbury men’s head coach Ben Murphy as the next head coach of the Generals. Murphy comes to Lafayette after serving as the head coach at Asbury from 2018 until the NAIA program shut down midseason in 2019.
Murphy is a Kentucky native and played club lacrosse at the University of Kentucky. He got his start in coaching at Ohio Valley, serving as a graduate assistant for Fighting Scots. Murphy was then the head coach at NCAA DIII Westminster (Mo.) from 2016-2017, the Blue Jays first head coach in program history.
Murphy served as an assistant coach for Asbury for one season before being named the head coach prior to the 2018 season. He stayed in that position until the program shut down in the middle of the 2019 season. During his time as an assistant at Asbury Murphy served under now Henry Clay (Ky.) head coach Josh Stewart.
Now leading the ship at Lafayette, he has a big challenge in front of him. The Generals haven’t won more than one game since the 2017 season when they went 7-8. In 2019 Lafayette went 1-19, losing in the play-in round to Dixie Heights.
With the Lafayette hiring Murphy and DeSales having named their inaugural head coach, Atherton, Lexington Catholic, Dunbar, South Oldham, and Madison County LC are the only five current programs that are still searching for a new head coach.
Just like the rest of the country, many fans, players, and coaches got to know some of these top 2021’s in Kentucky for the first time during the 2019 high school season. This 2021 class in Kentucky may be the best class the state has ever seen with the depth of skill and talent that has already been shown.
Here are some of the top 2021’s that broke on to the scene during the 2019 high school season.
Gavin Noland, Attack, Trinity
The 5-foot-11 attackman was a big piece of the Shamrocks offense this past spring, helping to lead them to a 15-6 record with wins over programs such as Moeller (Ohio), Cincinnati St. Xavier (Ohio), and others.
Noland draws immediate comparisons to Redwoods attackman Clarke Petterson with his ability to be an off-ball finisher and Chrome midfielder Romar Dennis with his dodging ability and speed. While Noland is more of an off-ball finisher, cutting and finishing inside, he can also take his man one-on-one from the wing and behind the cage.
In addition to his finishing ability, Noland has a very good stick, throwing crisp passes. He can also shoot very well and can put the ball in the back of the net from almost anywhere on the field. Noland is easily in the conversation for being the best player in the state and has all the tools to succeed at the next level.
Hillis Burns, Attack, St. Xavier
As more of your traditional ‘X’ attackman, Burns can get it done in multiple ways and almost always seems to be in the right spot. He helped lead the Tigers to a KSLL championship this past season while being a focal point of their offense.
Standing 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Burns can catch fire very easily with his scoring ability. However, he may be a better feeder as he is able to find the open guy when dodging from behind the cage or on the wings. He also has some Rob Pannell-esque plays in his bag that can throw any defender off.
Burns also has a high lacrosse IQ, giving him the ability to make smart plays all over the field. Burns also uses his speed and quickness to his advantage, getting open and beating his man. He is another player that is in the conversation for being the best player in the state, having an unbelievable skill set.
Ben Hubbs, Attack, St. Xavier
The attackman was another crucial part of St. Xavier’s KSLL championship run, being one of their primary goal scorers. Hubbs is a shooter and when he gets hot it elevates the play of everyone around him.
Hubbs honestly could play attack or midfield with his shooting ability. He is amore of a catch and shoot guy, but is very effective and can seemingly put the ball in the back of the net from anywhere. He is a great finisher inside, being able to find holes in the defense and camp out on the crease.
As an outside shooter Hubbs can crank it all day long, drawing comparisons to Duke midfielder Nakeie Montgomery. While Hubbs is more of a shooter he can be a great feeder as well, finding guys open in space and making smart passes as well. In addition, he may not be the best the strongest dodger, but can use his quickness and finesse to shake defenders and get his hands free.
Colten Reynolds, Attack, Henry Clay
Reynolds is a pure scorer, tallying 97 points (61G,36A) to help the Blue Devils win the CLL championship this past season. The attackman is a key piece of the the Henry Clay offense, really being a catalyst for them.
Because of his versatility Reynolds draws comparisons to Archers midfielder Austin Sims. Reynolds can get it done from multiple spots on the field as a shooter, dodger, and feeder. Reynolds is very good at beating his man and getting to the cage from the wings or behind the cage.
He is also able to use his speed to shake it man from up top as well. As a shooter he can rip it from outside and also finish inside. While his dodging and shooting ability are more marquee parts of his game, Reynolds is also a great feeder, being able to find the open man and throw crisp passes.
Triston Schaffer, Attack, Lexington Catholic
Schaffer has been one of the standouts on the offensive side of the ball for the Knights. He helped lead Lexington Catholic to a CLL championship game appearance, tallying 82 points (49G,33A).
With the skill set to play both attack and midfielder Schaffer can get it done multiple places on the field. One of his best attributes his IQ and ability to be a great off-ball finisher, always being in the right place and cutting off ball with efficiency.
As a shooter he can rip it from outside as well. Schaffer has a sharp stick which allows him to be able to become a feeder when needed as well. While his one on one dodging may not be the best, he can certainly be a threat as a dodger when he wants to from behind the cage and on the wings.
Daniel Diaz, Goalie, South Warren
The 6-foot-4 goalie stands tall in cage, making 131 saves off of 218 shots on goals while helping to lead the Spartans to the CLL semifinals.
Stone Wilmes, Defense, Trinity
As one of the youngest defenseman in the state this past season, Wilmes really stepped up late in the season for the Shamrocks. He can be a good cover man and can also slide and recover very well. He also has the ability to possibly play as an LSM.
Presley Richmond, Attack, Henry Clay
Tallying 67 points (57G,10A) to help lead the Blue Devils to a CLL championship, Richmond is an electrifying player. He can be a feeder or a shooter with his impressive skill set, and could also play as a midfielder as well.
Nic Baker, Midfield, Tates Creek
Baker is a very versatile player who has the skill set and athleticism to play multiple positions on the field. In 2019 Baker tallied 102 points (71G,31A). He is more of a shooter but can be a threat as a dodger and feeder as well.
Bullis (Md.) completed an impressive run on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. as they took down undefeated Salisbury (Conn.) to win the 2019 GEICO High School Nationals. The IAC champs came to play this week as they upset Hill Academy (Ont.) in the semifinals and then did it again against Salisbury in the championship.
The Bulldogs are the only American team to win the championship as Hill Academy won the first two (2017,2018). Robert Schain led the way for the Bulldogs as he was the catalyst on the offensive end. The senior Penn commit tallied 9 points (4G/5A) in the win, ending his high school career on a high note.
Connor Davis got the scoring started early, putting Bullis up 1-0. Salisbury answered as both teams went back-and-forth early on. After Jonathan Bender put Bullis up 2-1 Salisbury answered with a two-goal run from Scott Wilson and Connor Drake, giving the Knights their first lead of the game at 3-2.
After a Bullis goal from Kieran Anzelone things were tied up at 3 to end the first period of play. Gus Weiner and Bryson Shaw scored two straight, putting Bullis up 5-3 early in the second and pushing the Bulldogs run to three. Connor Drake finally stopped the bleeding, scoring Salisbury’s only second quarter goal with 5:30 left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs continued to dominate on both ends of the field for the rest of the half, taking an 8-4 halftime lead. Robert Schain, Bryson Shaw, and Connor Davis all scored for Bullis to end the half on a three-goal run.
Bullis continued their domination in the second half, winning on both ends of the field. After Jonathan Bender put Bullis up 9-4 early in the third Salisbury finally found the back of the net with 4:30 in the third. Robert Schain scored off a Jonathan Bender assist to put Bullis up 10-5 heading into the fourth.
It was back-and-forth early in the third as each team answered each other. Bullis used a two-goal run from Gus Weiner and Robert Schain to get up 13-6 late in the fourth. Salisbury was able to rattle off two in the final minutes of the game but could not complete the comeback, taking their only loss of the season.
The 2019 GEICO High School Nationals championship has been set as Bullis (Md.) took down Hill Academy (Ont.), and Salisbury (Conn.) beat St. Sebastian’s (Mass.) in the semifinals. Bullis and Salisbury will meet in the championship on Tuesday night at 7:00pm.
Bullis 11, Hill Academy 10
Bullis pulled off the upset and took down two-time defending champion Hill Academy. It was a very defensive heavy start for both squads Immanuel Brown scored the first goal of the game with 5:31 in the first, putting Bullis up 1-0. The Bulldogs found the back of the net less than a minute later, pushing their lead out to 2-0.
Hill Academy went on a three-goal run in the final minutes of the first, taking a 3-2 lead at the end of the first. Bullis quickly tied things up at 3 early in the second. After some more back-and-forth play through Dyson Williams netted his second of the day late in the quarter, giving Hill Academy a 5-4 lead heading into the half.
The second half saw much more offense earlier on as Hill Academy started off on a three-goal run, taking an 8-4 lead. Robert Schain seemingly gave Bullis the lift they needed with an insane long pole goal.
The Bulldogs rode that momentum into the fourth as they eventually got ahead, taking a 10-8 lead midway though the fourth. While Hill Academy was able to get something going late, they just couldn’t overcome the deficit as Bullis secured the one-goal 11-10 win to advance to the championship game.
Salisbury 7, St. Sebastian’s 5
It was a defensive battle as both goalies played fantastic throughout the game, making big save after big save. Michael Swirbalus got St. Sebastian’s on the board first midway though the first. After some more defensive heavy play Salisbury finally found the back of the net with a Will Ferrell goal, making it 1-1 at the end of the first.
More defensive play resumed in the second quarter as St. Sebastian’s took a 2-1 lead early. Salisbury finally got their offense going again, scoring midway though the second. Both defenses stood tall through the end of the first half to keep it tied at 2 all heading into halftime.
A big Logan McNaney save led to a Salisbury fast break that ended with a Will Ferrell goal, giving the Knights their first lead of the game at 3-2 early in the third. It was very back-and-forth through the third as St. Sebastian’s took back the 5-4 lead late in the third quarter.
Again, defense was the name of the game in the fourth, but Salisbury would find their offense. The Knights scored the only two goals of the quarter, securing the 7-5 win. While St. Sebastian’s had some opportunities late Logan McNaney stood on his head to help secure the win for Salisbury.
DeSales (Ky.) has hired former Atherton (Ky.) head coach Tyler Whitchurch to lead the Colts lacrosse program that is set to begin next season. DeSales is one of two new programs that could come into play for the 2020 season.
Whitchurch coached at Atherton for the past two seasons, helping the Rebels get their program started. The Rebels joined the KSLL in 2019 and played their first full season, going 1-13 overall. The Rebels one win came against North Hardin in the first game of the season.
A graduate of St. Xavier, Whitchurch has been involved in the Louisville lacrosse scene in various different ways. He has helped coach at the middle school level and was a game day intern for the Kentucky Stickhorses back when the NALL was a thing. He also played club lacrosse at Louisville and has coached overseas in Germany.
Whitchurch is also the program director of Rebel Lacrosse which is a newer girls club program in Louisville.
In addition to lacrosse, Whitchuch has a background as a basketball coach at both the middle school and high school levels.
Over the past few seasons Whitchurch has had a challenge on his hands with growing the program at Atherton. Now he will take on a similar challenge, starting another program that can have success if things are done the right way from day one.
DeSales will announce the addition of lacrosse and the hiring on Whitchurch sometime next week.
While there have been rumblings that Louisville Collegiate (Ky.) and Bryan Station (Ky.) in Lexington may not have teams next season due to numbers or being too young, there has also been positive news around the state as well. Just over the past two weeks news broke that St. Henry (Ky.) and DeSales (Ky.) were both looking to add lacrosse programs at their respective schools.
St. Henry, a co-ed catholic school in northern Kentucky, formally announced the formation of a boy’s and girl’s lacrosse program via social media last week, and is currently looking for players to join both teams for next season. St. Henry would be only the third high school that offers lacrosse in the northern part of the state.
Currently Covington Catholic and Dixie Heights are the only two schools that have lacrosse programs in northern Kentucky. The Northern KY Warriors and the Bluegrass Bulldogs are both club programs that have players from multiple schools in the region. St. Henry adding, or looking to add, lacrosse is a huge step forward in the northern part of the state where lacrosse seems to have started to boom.
Northern Kentucky even has two local products that will be competing for an NCAA DII championship with Limestone on Sunday in Noah Reed and Jeremy Burns.
DeSales, an all boy’s catholic school in Louisville, is looking to add lacrosse and will announce the new next week, per their social media. DeSales would add more fuel to the fire in the bustling Louisville lacrosse scene, being the second school to add a boy’s program in the past two seasons.
While there have been rumors for the better part of the past three years, it looks like lacrosse at DeSales has finally come to fruition. Lacrosse at a school like DeSales could really help boost the sport in the south end of Louisville where lacrosse hasn’t gotten too much exposure yet. DeSales would also be able to better compete with Trinity and St. Xavier for kids to come to their school.
Trinity and St. Xavier have been the most dominate programs in the state since the sport’s inception in Kentucky. Even though they are a smaller school, DeSales might eventually be able to contend for another slice of the pie.
If both programs do work out and they start next season, Kentucky will have 39 boy’s programs and 34 girl’s programs in 2020.
The high school lacrosse season in Kentucky just ended over the weekend with St. Xavier and Henry Clay winning their respective championships. Now, just three days after the high school season got wrapped up the coaching carousel has already got going.
So far there are five head coach openings: South Oldham, Atherton. Dunbar, Madison County LC, and Lexington Catholic. The two biggest openings out of this initial crop are Lexington Catholic and South Oldham as they are both consistently powers in the state.
Joe Richie has taken the job as the athletic director at South Oldham, thus leaving the position of head coach open. Richie led the Dragons to an 11-8 season in 2019 that ended with a fourth-straight trip to the KSLL semifinals. Richie has been at the helm of the Dragons program since 2015.
Lexington Catholic head coach Matt Campbell has stepped down after six seasons at the helm of the Knights. Campbell led the Knights to two championships (2014, 2018) during his tenure. This past season they went 12-11 and made it to the CLL championship game where they lost to Henry Clay.
Atherton is looking for their second head coach in program history after Tyler Whitchurch resigned from his duties last week. Whitchurch has been at the helm of the Rebels since the programs inception in 2018. This past season was their first full season as they joined the KSLL. Atherton went 1-13 this past season with their only win coming against North Hardin.
Dwight Hammons has stepped down as the head coach at Dunbar after being at the helm for eight seasons. Hammons ends his tenure as the head coach at Dunbar with an 81-48 overall record. In 2019 the Bulldogs went 6-11 and made it to the CLL quarterfinals where they lost to South Warren.
Madison County LC head coach Wesley Browne has said that he will be stepping down once a replacement has been found. Browne led the Mavericks to an 11-4 record in 2019, finishing third in their district. The Mavericks lost in the first round of the CLL playoffs to Scott County.
The high school season in Kentucky has come to an end with St. Xavier winning the KSLL championship on Friday and Henry Clay taking down Lexington Catholic on Saturday to win the CLL championship.
Over the course of the season the rankings have seen teams move up and down each week, and more. Through the season the top four teams in the state have remained and showed their dominance down the stretch.
The top five in the post season power rankings are St. Xavier, Trinity, Henry Clay, Lexington Catholic, and Collegiate. South Oldham and Fredrick Douglass come in at six and seven, just outside the top five.
The Henry Clay Blue Devils took down the Lexington Catholic Knights to secure the 2019 CLL championship. The Blue Devils dominated in ever facet of the game from start to finish, en route to their first championship under second year head coach Josh Stewart, fourth in program history.
Henry Clay got things going early with Colten Reynolds putting the Blue Devils up 1-0 with 10:53 in the first.
Coming out of a Henry Clay timeout with 10:20 in the first Lexington Catholic goalie Brayden Adams made two huge saves to help give the Knights their first possession of the game. The Knights couldn’t hang on to it as Henry Clay defenseman Clay Graves scooped up the loos ball and went coast to coast, electrifying the crowd with a long pole goal to put the Blue Devils up 2-0.
Two failed Lexington Catholic clears led to two more Henry Clay goals, giving them a 4-0 lead with 4:25 in the first quarter. The Knights finally got the board late in the first with Michael Duzyk ripping it from the outside.
Coming into the second quarter with a 4-1 lead the Blue Devils would keep firing, using a two-goal run early in the second to expand their lead to 6-1. The half ended with much more back-and-forth play as Lexington Catholic finally found some rhythm, even with the Blue Devils holding a 7-3 lead heading into halftime.
After some back-and-forth transition play early in the third Henry Clay started clicking on all cylinders again, capitalizing on every one of Lexington Catholic’s mistakes. The Blue Devils used a three-goal run that included two straight goals from Logan Lewis to take a 10-4 lead late in the third quarter.
In the final minutes of the third Tristian Schaffer intercepted a pass on a Henry Clay clear and returned the favor, getting the Knights going once again. Henry Clay answered right back, turning a failed Lexington Catholic clear into a Nolan Doss goal with just seconds left on the clock.
The Blue Devils held an 11-5 lead heading into the fourth and continued their domination. While the ball was on the ground a lot in the fourth, the Blue Devils still found away to score two straight to start the fourth before trying to kill some clock late.
After making a great save Brayden Adams walked the ball up to half field and just chucked it into the wide open net, giving Lexington Catholic their final goal or the game. Presley Richmond’s behind the back goal with 3:08 in the game proved to be the dagger as Henry Clay secured the 14-6 win.
The St. Xavier Tigers downed the Trinity Shamrocks in route to their second straight KSLL championship. The Tigers were simply better in every aspect of the game. They dominated possession and won practically every ground ball battle all game long.
While Trinity did have some flashes and good looks they kept on shooting themselves in foot with unforced turnovers. When the shamrocks did get good looks or goalie Jack McClellan made a huge save the energy would quickly dissipate.
Hillis Burns, Noah Malubay, and Will Hubbs led the way for St. Xavier with three goal each. Towson signee Patrick Anderson also had two goals to add to the total as well.
Trinity was led by Dalton Hubbs with two goals while Blake Zupetz, Andre Higdon, Will Warner, and Jacob Rogers each had a goal as well.
In cage Joe Storner played stellar for St. Xavier while Jack McClellan did much of the same for Trinity.
St. Xavier got the scoring starting with a Noah Malaubay goal after some back-and-forth physical play on both. The Tigers then put up three more goals before the end of the quarter. Will Hubbs had two in final minutes of the first to make it 4-0 Tigers late in period.
Dalton Hubbs got Trinity their first goal of the game, scoring right off of the faceoff with 16.3 seconds left in the first, cutting the St. Xavier lead to 4-1 at the end of the first.
Trinity’s second goal of the game came the same way, but with Blake Zupetz coming right down the middle in the opening seconds of the second quarter. That cut the Tigers lead to 4-2.
St. Xavier went on a three-goal run that included multiple transition goals before Trinity scored again late in the second. Hillis Burns scored with just seconds left in the second to make it an 8-3 halftime lead for the Tigers.
The Tigers struck first early in the third with a Harrison Pate goal. Trinity finally got on the board again with a man-up goal coming from Dalton Hubbs with 5:54 in the period.
Near the end of the third Noah Malubay and Will Hubbs each scored to put the Tigers up 11-4. Within the final minute of the third Andrew Higdon scored for Trinity and Hillis Burns found the back of the net for St. Xavier.
After an early goal from Noah Malubay the Tigers tried to drain the clock, but Trinity was able to finally force a turnover and convert with a Jacob Rogers goal. That would be Trinity’s final goal of the game.
Baylor Wedge and Ben Hubbs both scored late in the game to put this one to rest as St. Xavier secured the 15-6 win.